Journalist Forum of Assam Expresses Concern Over Newspaper Closure Notices

The Journalist Forum of Assam (JFA) has expressed serious concern at the closure notices issued by the management of two Assam based daily newspapers and urged the Assam government to take the initiative for possible re-launching both newspapers owned by the Kolkata based by Saradha Group.

The forum also asked the management to release outstanding salaries to the journalist and non-journalist employees at the earliest.

In a press statement issued by JFA president Rupam Baruah and secretary Nava Thakuria, the organization revealed that the management of Sakalbela, a Bengali daily and Seven Sister’s Post, an English daily published from Guwahati had issued closure notices recently from its Kolkota office and since the first week of April 2013 both newspapers have not been printed and circulated.

Sakalbela had employed nearly forty working journalists and another hundred media employees and similarly Seven Sister’s Post had around fifty working journalists and a hundred other employees.

The sudden closure notice issued by the Saradha Group chairman cum managing director Sudipta Sen has forced all these newspaper employees to become unemployed.

The media reports from Kolkata suggest that all the newspapers and television channels owned by the Saradha Group have been closed down.

Moreover, the Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen has not been seen for many days.

The affected employees of the group have also lodged FIRs in local police stations.

The media employees based in Assam have alleged that they have not received their monthly salaries for the last two months.

The JFA has asked the Saradha Group management to immediately release their outstanding salaries and other due benefits (including the PF).

The forum also appealed to the State chief minister Tarun Gogoi and State labour minister Prithvi Majhi to pursue with the management the possibility of reviving the production of both newspapers and also providing due-financial benefits to the nearly three hundred worried employees at the earliest.

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.